Last But Never Least

Did I mention I went to Portland?  Well if I didn’t then I will tell you now I was in Portland last week.  It was great.  I just love that city.  Books, coffee, movies, yoga, coffee, books, and coffee.  The people are great and there is no sales tax so the more you spend the more you save!  Don says there is something not quite right with that logic, but I see it as losing money if you don’t shop in Portland.
While I was there I went to see the Oregon Ballet Theater do Midsummer Nights Dream and a piece by some Spanish choreographer named Nacho (the choreographer not the piece).  It was fantastic and apparently this man is a very famous choreographer at present but I am so far out of the loop I have never heard of him.  As I sat in the audience reading the program I started to do some math (never a good idea) and realized it has been thirteen years since I was last on a stage.  My view in a theater is now from the front looking at the action instead of being on the stage looking past the lights out into the dark.  It’s is a beautiful vantage point I was so lucky to experience.  Sometimes from the stage you can see the faces of the people in the front rows but mostly it’s a sea of anonymous bodies outlined by a little light.   When there are empty seats, and you can always see those gaping holes, it messes with the symmetry and if an entire section is empty it looks so deserted and lonely.  The last job I had was Faust at the LA Opera.  It was hard dancing and I was almost thirty-nine years old.  It was the last time I was in the kind of shape it takes to be a dancer and it was the last time I had the view from the stage.  I knew it was probably my last trip to the rodeo and I tried to enjoy every moment.  I did not beat myself up after a performance if it wasn’t perfect because by then I had realized there was no perfect.  I did my best and that was good enough.  It’s nice to know when something is ending. If even nicer when you are ready for it to end.
First job 1978. Disneyland Christmas Parade
No fancy Instagram filter because it was really 1978.
Last job 2000.  Faust with Karen Christenberry Stimming.
I was really fortunate to have known it was the “last time” for my dance career.  There are so many “last times” and I don’t know when they happened.  When was the last time I carried Sofie?  When did Addie call me Mommy for the last time before switching to calling me Mom?  When was the last time I spoke to my father?  When was the last day I was the most important woman in Andrew’s life until it became Lauren?  Thank Goddess we don’t know when it is the last time for things or it would make life unbearable.   It is so intensely bittersweet.  We continue to grow, change and live our lives differently not even aware of the things we don’t do or have anymore because all the lasts are being replaced by new firsts.  That’s why we are not paralyzed by sorrow.  The firsts slip in sometimes as quietly as the lasts slip away and keep us in balance.  The lasts make us who we are and the firsts make us who we will become

That was a lot of thinking so I was really happy when the ballet started because my brain was starting to hurt. The dancers were beautiful, young, and strong and we were in our right places.  They were on the stage and I was watching .  It was a truly beautiful thing.
Doing make up for the last time.  (Yes, I documented it.)

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